Exciting Things are Happening

It’s been an INSANE few months here in Groupieville! We’ve been extremely blessed to be very busy.

In the midst of our school season, something pretty amazing happened…

I ADOPTED A PUPPY!!

Remi

Everyone…meet Remi!

Miss Remi is a rescue from a local shelter who became part of our crazy family in October.

She is a 9 month old Terrier-Schnauzer mix – with a sprinkle of Chewbacca and Yoda. (I mean look at those ears!)

She joins big sisters Angel & Lucy.

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Shortly after Remi joined the family, excitement found us again…

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I GOT ENGAGED!!

Here’s how it all went down…

About 2 weeks after we started dating, Josh took me to Starved Rock. I had never been. I knew that this place would be special to us. Something in my gut told me so..

When our trip to Starved Rock came up in conversation a year later, I didn’t give it much thought. We had been trying to plan it for awhile. It was such a memorable trip the year before and I really couldn’t wait to go back. With our work schedules, the only time that worked was a weekend. The day before, I came home from work sick with a cold. Josh kept asking if I wanted to cancel the trip but I refused. It was such a special place for us and I wanted to go. Sick or not. I woke up Saturday feeling much worse, but I got up and got ready anyway. It was a normal Saturday. The weather was slightly chilly. We were dodging kids left and right. I was a little perturbed that our serene peaceful getaway was turning out to be less than enjoyable. After a couple hour hike, we had lunch. My boys had text to tell us that they had won state for marching band (GO HHS Marching Tigers!!). I was a pretty excited mama and started texting everyone to share the news. I got a cryptic message back from my dad that I shrugged off as “Dad’s being goofy today”. We bought our traditional Starved Rock ornament from the gift shop and decided to head to the other side of the park. This side was beautiful and very yellow. Not as pretty as the other side though. We hit a point where I was just done. It was a long way back – twists, turns, and uphill climbs. But Josh remembered that there was a short cut. Josh said “We can walk all the way back or we can climb up that hill.” I looked back. Then looked up. When I tell you it was a steep stupid hill, I am not exaggerating. Straight up. I looked back again and I chose the hill. Mid climb I stopped to catch my breath. And me, being the eternal child, got excited to see a caterpillar crawling on the ground – so I photographed him. When we finally made it up to the top, I collapsed over a railing and was trying to catch my breath. Looking back now, seconds felt like minutes. I heard Josh ask me if I was going to make it and I said “Yes, just give me a second.” When I could finally breathe, I turned around and Josh was on one knee. I was still a little light headed and very confused. Honestly, I thought he was tying his shoe. I asked him “What are you doing?” And then…out of the blue it clicked and I instantly started sobbing. He smiled and I saw a box in his hand. He asked “Do you love me?” And I said “Yes!” And then he asked “Do you want to spend the rest of your life with me?” And through snotty sobs, I said “Yes!”

It was one of the most incredible moments in my life.

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It’s definitely been a crazy exciting time. And now…it’s time to PLAN!

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Summer Shenanigans

This summer has given us a multitude of rain and yucky weather. Yet, in between the raindrops and waterfalls, the Groupies come out to play.

We all have spent some wonderful days recently and wanted to share our summertime shenanigans with you!

We have had some trips to the Beach, Chicago, the Zoo, Tennessee, and many more!

Here are some of the photographs we took along the way!

Jacqueline went to Silver Beach-

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The Fourth of July was fun for all of us-

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Jacqueline killed it at The Taste of Joliet-

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Brittany got some Momma and puppy lovin’ in Tennessee-

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Brittany also attended a wonderful wedding in Michigan-

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I (Meredith) got to spend some time in Chicago with Cj-

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I also got to take some adorable photos of my 15 year old Puppy-

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Annie, Nancy, and Jamie enjoyed The Color Run-

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And Bj had some Fun Adventures with Puppies, Children, and Grandchildren-

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This icky weather summer is not holding us back from having a fun time! ๐Ÿ™‚

What are some of the fun shenanigans that you guys have been up to this rainy summer?

-Meredith

Testing 1… 2 … 3

The Groupies are ALWAYS on the go!
County to county, school to school, event to event- everywhere we go, with everything we do, we take test shots to make sure everything is golden (light ratios, color balance, etc.)

Due to the sheer awesomeness of our staff (with a little sense of silly self-preservation thrown in,) we quite often come back home with fun images. These “tells” show our different moods, hair color phases, and the special interoffice comradery.

These are our favorite and most common test photo go-to’s.

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Where’s Frankie?

Frankie has become quite the attraction here at the studio both for the staff and for anyone who visits! He’s got quite the personality for such a little tortoise.

We’ve had lots of visitors lately and everyone that comes in instantly migrates to the rather large tank in the room. And here recently, it’s been empty.

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We thought we would have some fun with it and play a little game of…

“Where’s Frankie?”

Doing a little sight-seeing in Paris?

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Or maybe he’s soaking up the sun on a fabulous beach!

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Who doesn’t love a nice Disney vacation?!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAComplete with Mickey ears of course.

Maybe he’s a history buff and doing a little research in Egypt.

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Or..

Hangin’ out in Grand Cayman at the Turtle Farm.

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Maybe he’s a little closer to home at Navy Pier.

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OR…my personal favorite..

Frankie’s on the hunt for the Loch Ness Monster!!

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Ok, ok, the simple truth is that he’s been hangin’ at home with BJ. He needed a little extra monitoring due to a change in his diet (Frankie not BJ).

But don’t worry, Image Groups smallest Groupie will be returning soon!

Fresh Groupie Alert

Hi there!

It’s been a while now, but it is finally time for me to introduce myself! My name is Meredith Rennewanz and I am the โ€œnewbieโ€ groupie to the Image Group family!

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Now, I am going to give you a crash course on who I am, so get your pens ready because there will be a quiz at the end! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Just kidding!)

I am 21 years old and am currently studying Photography and Business at Olivet Nazarene University, where I plan to graduate in 2016. (I have actually had the lovely pleasure of having our boss man, BJ, as my professor at Olivet!)

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I am born and raised here, in Limestone, Illinois, with my parents and my brother, Dustin.

I am also engaged to a wonderful human-being, named Cj Grzincic, and we are set to get married in September 2016! I have had too much fun wedding planning and I cannot wait to start a new adventure with him! P.S. I also know all of the new and popular as well as DIY tricks for weddings ๐Ÿ˜‰

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I am also a lovely pet owner to a marvelous feline named Meeko (He is practically my baby)((I’m also an obsessed Cat Lady and I have no shame)). Additionally, my heart is also captivated by my amazing dog, Mansker (Manny for short), who recently just turned 15 (Yep, you read that right, I have had him since I was in 1st grade and I am now a senior in college!)

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I am also an avid movie quoter and I am notorious for incorporating them into daily conversation. I have a massive sweet tooth and know all of the best dessert places in town! I also have a slight addiction to make-up, so I can let you know all of the best things to make your face BEAUTIFUL! ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  I love to have fun and be silly, but I can get down to business when necessary. I am additionally known for my widely sarcastic sense of humor. You only get one chance at life, so you might as well have fun living it!

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Photography has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl walking around with my Barbie camera. I am in love with the idea of capturing moments and expressions to cherish for a lifetime. I guess that is the sentimental side of me. Working at Image Group is incredibly amazing and forces me to step outside of my comfort zone on multiple occasions, but I love it!!

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My fellow Groupies have done a wonderful job of welcoming me into the Image Group family and making me feel at home. I definitely hit the ground running when I started here, but I am learning so much along the way.

So if you see me out on location, feel free to stop and say hello! I would love to chat! ๐Ÿ™‚

“Every day you have the opportunity to learn and experience something and someone new. Seize the opportunity. Learn and experience everything you can, and use it to change the world.” -Rodney Williams

-Meredith

Illinois Veteran’s Home- Manteno

A couple of months ago BJ’s wife, Nancy, presented us with a fantastic photography project idea- The Veteran’s Project.

Reminiscent of Richard Avedon’s revealing style of celebrity photography, we would make emotional portraits of military veterans while documenting their wisdom and incredible journeys. BJ immediately explained the project to his photojournalism class at Olivet, who enthusiastically came on board. The project then quickly snowballed to include Dr. McLaughlin’s Multimedia Storytelling class, ROTC, and the university’s marketing department.

We made connections with the Illinois Veteran’s Home in Manteno, who was more than willing to become a part.

It’s all come together beautifully and this week, we’ve spent time with numerous veterans from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, etc. learning of their journeys both militarily and civilian. We’ve made personal connections with these incredible individuals. Full of life, they approach each day with joy and passion having experienced so many different eras of time.

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So often we take life and people for granted. It’s unreal the things you can learn by simply putting away your smartphone and listening to the knowledge of those who have paved the way before you. I challenge everyone to reach out to a grandparent, parent, great aunt, whoever… and just listen. Listen to their passions and their memories. Heed their advice and cherish their time.

The project still has a week to go, and everyone is thrilled to show off the final project. Standby to see the results!

Don’t Blink!

Hello friends!
So sorry we’ve taken so long of a hiatus on the blog.
Oh you know- the usual excuses… life get’s busy, the Holiday season is jam packed, yada yada and all that jazz.

So as our 2015 introductory blog post, we would like to introduce a super sweet (sea salt caramel truffle ice cream sweet) new promotion!!

Introducing IG’s Watch Me Grow Program!!

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This package includes five sessions, a $450 print credit, an 8×8 custom-designed fine art book, and a dedicated online image gallery to span your pride and joy’s first year.
JacePlease call us for more info if you’re interested! We’d love to meet your nugget and follow them as they grow into greatness!

Where Does My Money Go? -Investing in Us

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We’ve been noticing a lot of buzz going around about the differences in pricing between various photography studios- especially with the closing of many chain studios in department stores.

We wanted to put in our two cents about where your money goes when you hire a photographer (specifically us) and why prices have recently risen across the industry.

Professional vs. Amateur

Hiring a professional photographer is an investment.ย  The pictures you will come away with become more valuable as time goes by.ย  You canโ€™t bring back the time, and as we all know it goes by much too quickly. Given the digital age we live in today, photos are accessible every second of everyday.ย  This is where hiring a professional photographer is essential. The saying, “You get what you pay for” is absolutely true in the photography world. Be wary of deals that seem to good to be true as most often they are just that. While there are exceptions to this, make sure that your photographer is professionally trained and can deliver top quality images in any situation. While an amateur or friend that dabbles in photography might offer you a disc of all of the images for a steal- it’s inevitable that the disc will become corrupted, get chewed on by the new puppy, or lost in the file drawer. It’s a gamble whether or not that photographer friend still has the images to replace your loss. Here at Image Group, you will always be working with professionally trained photographers, designers, etc. You will always receive finished edited images- ready to print into timeless heirlooms. We strive to be the absolute best that we can be for each and every client.

One-on-One Client Interaction

Every time you call the studio, a real person will answer the phone to address any questions that you may have. Everything we do is custom and personal every client that we encounter, becoming a part of our Groupie family. We say hello when we run into you at the grocery store, a football game, or at a restaurant and genuinely hope things are going well!

The Products

Every finished product that is placed into a client’s hands has been carefully handled to ensure the highest quality. Our products are all created with archival materials that will last for generations and are guaranteed not to fade with time.

The Experience

We believe that every client is special and treat every interaction as such. Part of your investment includes a fun and friendly experience to capture the personality and uniqueness of every individual, group, family, and event. We truly love what we do and want to share that with you.

The Breakdown

When it comes to booking any kind of photography services- portrait, senior, family, wedding, commercial, etc. there are costs involved that might not be common knowledge to the client.

A typical session encompasses all of the following aspects, including the behind-the-scenes:

  • Professionally trained photographer(s)
  • Top-of-the-line photography equipment (camera bodies, lenses, light modifiers, backgrounds, etc.)
  • Fully insured equipment/staff
  • Session pre-planning by client/photographer/assistant
  • Photographer/Assistants time during session and travel for session if applicable
  • Access to all of the studio’s resources (locations, props, etc.)
  • Professional retouching and editing of files using industry standard programs and equipment
  • Dedicated time to view, select, and order favorite images
  • Online gallery viewing/ordering
  • Highest quality printing and production with exclusive use of archival inks and premium-lustre photo papers
  • Highest quality, custom designed products (albums, canvases, etc.)
  • Custom order packaging by in-house production staff

ย The Bottom Line

The bottom line when it comes to hiring a professional photographer is that you will get your money’s worth when it comes to service, quality, and time. We know that things can get expensive- don’t let our prices scare you! We will work with you to make sure that you walk away happy and satisfied!

Times Gone By

I don’t know about you, but I love looking at old photos and hearing the stories behind them.
Photographs are so important to history.
They give a tangible quality to things that might otherwise just be stories or verbal descriptions.
Being able to see history makes it real, makes it relatable.

Recently, three rolls of film were found in my Grandpa’s home labeled “Honeymoon ’52” and the family wanted to see what was on them.
I packaged up the film and sent them in to be scanned.

When they came back- we were thrilled!
Grampa had never seen the photos (they were developed but never printed), and included photos from his honeymoon and his service in the navy in Holland.

Grampa’s memory is razor sharp and we got to hear stories all about the photos, including names of people, cities, etc.
Such a great treasure!!

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I’m sure if you want to hear some stories, my Grandpa would love to share!
Do you have any old photos that you love?
We’d love to see them!